Indian para-shuttlers clinch 34 medals at Spanish Para Badminton International II
It was a complete medal loot for India's para-shuttlers with Pramod Bhagat leading the charge with 3 golds at the Spanish Para Badminton International II.
The Indian para-badminton contingent led by the likes of Tokyo gold medallists Pramod Bhagat, Krishna Nagar dazzled at the Spanish Para Badminton International 2022 and won a whopping 34 medals from the event.
Claiming 11 golds, 7 silvers and 16 bronze medals - the Indian para-badminton team put on a stellar show at the BWF Para Badminton International Level II tournament at Vitoria, Spain to continue with their impressive run.
Playing in the very-first international tournament of the 2022 BWF calendar, the Indian para-badminton stars ensured that they set a strong statement with a wonderful medal loot of 34 medals to show for their raging dominance across a great category of events.
World No. 1 Pramod Bhagat shone exceptionally and bagged the gold in all 3 events he took part in - Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles, a feat he did for the first time where he claimed the top honours in all three events at a single competition.
Giving Bhagat company with the gold spree, para-shuttlers Sukant Kadam, Krishna Nagar, Manasi Joshi, Manoj Sarkar among others fetched the yellow metal.
Sukant Kadam, who is World No 4, also continued his good run and ended his campaign with a gold and a silver in the tournament that ended on Sunday. In the singles, World No 1 Bhagat defeated Kumar Nitesh 17-21 21-17 21-17 in a hard-fought final which lasted for 1 hour and 1 minute to claim gold.
Kadam had a relatively easy outing against Marcel Adam, beating the German 21-13 21-18. This victory is Kadam's third gold medal in as many tournaments. In the men's doubles, Kadam had to settle for silver after being defeated by World No 1 pair Pramod Bhagat and Manoj Sarkar.
"This is my third gold medal in as many tournaments and I am quite excited about the same. This victory will make me push harder and train tougher for the upcoming tournaments," Kadam, who competes in the SL4 category, said. "The focus now has shifted to Grade 1 tournament which starts in 3 days and my goal will be to repeat my display."
In the mixed doubles, World No 1 pair of Bhagat and Manoj Sarkar outwitted fellow Indians Kadam and Nitesh 21-19 11-21 21-11 in the summit clash for another gold. Bhagat then paired up with his mixed doubles partner Palak Kohli and secured a thrilling come-from-behind 14-21 21-11 21-14 win against the Indian pair of Ruthick Ragupathi and Manasi Girishchandra Joshi for his third gold medal of the tournament.
"This is a special victory for me as it is the first victory for me after a gap of 2 tournaments," Bhagat said. "I have worked really hard and this is the stepping stone. Now my focus is on the Grade 1 tournament which starts in 3 days and I would like to repeat what I achieved today," added the men's singles SL3 Paralympic champion.
India stood out and impressed in a number of categories with Palak Kohli, Parul Parmar, Prem and Abu Hubaida, Hardik and Ruthick also joining in this medal party and delivering impressively. Not only singles, but India also claimed medals in doubles, mixed doubles, wheelchair events as well.
The Gaurav Khanna-coached Indian para-badminton contingent will hope to keep this brilliant winning streak going as they move on to the Spanish Para Badminton International Level I tournament that will take place from 9th-13th March at Cartagena.
(With inputs from PTI)